Posted by: Beth | May 6, 2012

MRIN-4 Harry Lee Chaffins and Emma Jean Willoughby

Harry Lee Chaffins and Emma Jean Willoughby

My paternal great grandparents


Harry Lee Chaffins

    • Born: 15 Jun 1891 in Garrett, Floyd County, Kentucky
    • Married:
      1. Susan “Susie” Sturgill (date and place unknown)
      2. Emma Jean Willoughby (circa 1929 around the Floyd County area)
      3. Elizabeth “Lizzie” Williams (date and place unknown)
    • Died: 31 Dec 1941 in Mousie, Knott County, Kentucky
    • Buried: 02 Jan 1942 in The Chaffins Family Cemetery, Rock Fork, Knott County, Kentucky
    • Cause of Death: Pnemonia, Tuberculosis
    • Parents: Jasper “Bird” Chaffins and Judith Hunter

NOTE: DNA testing is proving that Jasper was not the biological father Harry. Because he raised Harry, gave him his family name, and was the only father Harry ever knew it just seems wrong to delete him from anything. They may not have been biologically related, but they were definitely family (and from what I can tell, they were very close) and I will continue to honor that relationship. This blog, all my research and my tree are about family, not just blood relatives. The Chaffins family will always be our family.

It appears that Judith was about three months pregnant with Harry when she and Jasper married. Harry has different birth dates on various sources, I’ve chosen to use the one that he himself provided on the WWI Draft Registration Card as I consider that a primary source. The other birthdates were given by other people, a secondary source.

The MANY DNA matches (and pretty strong matches at that) on my paternal side show that, without a doubt, we are related to the Shepherd Family of Floyd County, Kentucky. Due to endogamy it’s been very hard to try to pin down who exactly is Harry’s biological father. I do know that he is a descendant of one of two brothers, Jacob Shepherd (1781-1858) and /or David Henderson Shepherd (1793-1873). They were sons of Jonathan Shepherd and Elizabeth Richmond.

Emma Jean Willoughby

  • Born: 29 Jun 1899 in Muhlenburg County, Kentucky
  • Married:
    1. unknown spouse at about age 15
    2. John H. Gilbert on 20 Aug 1918 in Prestonsburg, Floyd County, Kentucky
    3. James A. Hughes on 15 Nov 1927 in Garrett, Floyd County, Kentucky
    4. Harry Lee Chaffins (circa 1929 around the Floyd County area)
    5. Jake  Bennett (date and location unknown)
  • Died: 05 Mar 1986 in Bakersfield, Kern County, California
  • Buried: 17 Mar 1986 in Union Cemetery in Bakersfield, Kern County, California
  • Cause of Death: unknown
  • Parents: Grafton Olston Willoughby and Mary Jane Bracken

Their Child

  1. Harry Lee Chaffins (Jr)

Harry’s other Children:

with Susan Sturgill

  • Chloe Chaffins (1915-unknown)
  • Ray Chaffins (1918-2003)
with Elizabeth Williams
  • Hilton “Cuch” Chaffins (1935-1999)
  • Paul R. “Bud” Chaffins (1932-1989)

Emma’s other Children:

with John Gilbert

  • Vivian Irene Gilbert (1919-2000)
  • Lloyd W. Gilbert (1921-1986)
with Jake Bennett
  • Shirley Ann “Cookie” Bennett (I’m told this was her preferred name, but not her birth name?)
  • Alonzo ” Lonnie” Grafton Bennett (1939-2011)


    1. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 – Harry Chaffins 
    2. 1920 U.S. Population Schedule, Kentucky, Floyd County, Martin, E.D. 13, Page 26A, Lines 2-8
    3. 1920 U.S. Population Schedule, Kentucky, Pike County, Forks District, Page 12A, Lines 39-41
    4. 1930 Census (I have not been able to locate Harry and in the 1930 census)
    5. 1930 U.S. Population Schedule, Kentucky, Floyd County, Prestonsburg Jail 52, Page 11B, Line 52
    6. 1940 U.S. Population Schedule, Oklahoma, Beckham County, Buffalo, Page 10A, Lines 32-35
    7. 1940 U.S. Population Schedule, Kentucky, Floyd County, Wayland,Page, 12A Line 15
    8. Kentucky Death Records 1911-1955 – Harry Chaffins
    9. Commonwealth of Kentucky, State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Kentucky Vital Records, Type: Death Certificate Name: Harry Lee Chaffins Sr. Certificate No. 29453.
    10. California, Death Index, 1940-1997 – Emma Jean Bennett
    11. Social Security Death Index – Emma Bennett
    12. Find A Grave Memorial# 14067205 – Harry Lee Chaffins
    13. Find A Grave Memorial# 133594241 – Emma Jean (Willoughby) Bennett
    14. Obituary Issue Date: 16 Mar 1986 Name: Emma Jean (Willoughby) Bennett. The Bakersfield Californian (Bakersfield, Kern County, California)
    15. Floyd County Clerk’s Office, Floyd County Marriage Book (Kentucky), Book: 21 Page: 33 Groom: John H. Gilbert Bride: Emma J. Willoughby (Marriage License in my possesion)
    16. Marriage License of J.A. Hughes and Emma Wilby (Willoughby)
    17. California, Death Index, 1940-1997 – Jake W. Bennett


  1. I’m trying to find info on my family and when I looked up John H Gilbert, came to this site. Irene V. Gilbert was my aunt, older 1/2 sister of my mother Elizabeth. She was 20 yrs older and is who my mom came to live in after her mother passed away when she was 14. My mom was a baby when John passed away. Just a note, Lloyd Gilbert passed in 1981 – just saw it in the Bible notes.

    • Hi Shannon,
      Nice to meet you. I’m happy to help you in anyway that I can. I have the following documents on your grandfather. Some of them I have to transcribe to post here. I can send you the documents so that you don’t have to wait. Let me know which ones you need and where to send them.

      John Holman Gilbert
      1900 census
      1910 census
      1920 census
      1930 census
      1940 census
      World War I Draft Registration Card
      World War II Draft Registration Card
      Marriage Record to Emma
      Passenger List for a trip to Southampton
      Passenger List for a trip to Argentina
      Social Security Death Index
      Florida Death Index
      (Last last two state that he died in 1973)

  2. Hi Beth
    I am Emma’s youngest grandchild from her daughter Shirley. I came across your page today and it blew me away! I was raised mostly by my father Harold Figard Sr. but I did spend a few years with my mom and Grandma Emma. I was told by my Grandma that my mom’s birth name was Iva Rae, my mom confirmed it but I have never seen official documentation of any kind. I was never aware that my mom had siblings beyond my uncle Lonnie and Uncle Harry. I would love to correspond with you if at all possible.

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